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Coat of Arms from the town of  Eskilstuna, Sweden
Volume 10 - Page 11
International Edition
Reproduction Viking Forge
Report by Bruce Blackistone (Atli)
Vegard Vike of Norway with Portable Forge
The Subject of portable medieval forges keeps coming up. While the Longship Company was participating in the Norwegian Christmas celebration at Union Station in Washington D.C., we had the honor of meeting several Viking reenactors from Norway. Their smith, Vegard Vike (left), had brought over his version of a portable Viking age forge to demonstrate his craft.

Like many other areas of reenactment the forge is about 1/3 archeology, 1/3 interpretation of other sources, and 1/3 very informed guesswork.

LEFT: Vegard displays the tools of the trade: bellows, bucket, hammer and anvil. The anvil is based on the largest one discovered so far in Norway.
Oswulf and Cedric with Viking Forge
Oswulf and Cedric from the Longship Company check the action as Haakon and Leif look on. The lower support from of the bellows hooks onto the forge frame. The wooden frame for the forge used a slate bottom, soapstone front and back shields, and metal sides. Charing was controlled by an occasional dollop of water. The slate bottom tended to spall; soapstone, or some other substitute, would work better.

Bruce sent some very nice closeups and other views of this forge and they will be posted in an article under forges at a later date.
Detail of shield stone Detail of sheild stone
Shield stones
The hole in the back of the soapstone bellows shield is bigger than the front. The leather nozzles do not actually touch the stone.
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February 1st International Edition.
Second posting - February 7, 1999
Copyright ©1999 Jock Dempsey